Lamar vs Kentucky

Jones returns as UK steamrolls Lamar


LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky coach John Calipari had some problems with his third-ranked Wildcats' 86-64 victory over Lamar on Wednesday night, their last game before facing No. 4 Louisville.

The Wildcats (12-1) started strong and never struggled to beat Lamar, and they also benefited from sophomore Terrence Jones' return after missing two games with a dislocated pinky on his left -- shooting -- hand.

Calipari could have focused on that or freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's 18 points or freshman Anthony Davis' sixth double-double in 12 games. Instead he labored over Lamar's dominance on the offensive glass and the Wildcats' 17 turnovers.

"I'm not in a great frame of mind to talk about Saturday," Calipari said of the instate rivalry game. "I'm like, `Right now, there are no excuses.' I don't want to hear it."

Mike James had 29 points for Lamar (8-5), which hung with the Wildcats despite shooting 28.1 percent from the field in the first half. But Kentucky proved too much after halftime and didn't allow the Cardinals consecutive baskets until almost 8 minutes had elapsed.

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"We couldn't have played any harder," Lamar coach Pat Knight said. "This is just going to help us in conference. I thought we gave them everything they could. We made them keep their starters in until the end. We don't need to hang our head; this is a team that I think has a chance to win the national championship."

The Wildcats shot 49.1 percent from the field for the game, including going 7 of 14 from 3-point range.

Kentucky opened the game on an 11-2 run and maintained its first-half lead because of its free throw shooting. The Wildcats were 14 of 17 from the line in the first half and finished 27 of 33 overall.

But even then, Kentucky struggled to separate itself in the first half because of Lamar's persistence on the offensive glass.

The Cardinals had 10 offensive boards before halftime compared to Kentucky's 13 on the defensive end. The consistent looks close to the basket gave Lamar ample opportunity to chip away from the free throw line, where the Cardinals were 10 for 10 in the first half.

In the second half the Wildcats proved too much. Kidd-Gilchrist scored seven straight points to extend the `s lead to 53-37 with 14:59 left, and the Cardinals never got closer than that the rest of the game.

Calipari's main concern was that not enough of his players were physical. Other than Kidd-Gilchrist and Davis -- who combined for 19 of Kentucky's 36 rebounds -- Calipari said he didn't know where rebounds would come from against Louisville, especially if Kidd-Gilchrist picks up two first-half fouls like he did Wednesday for the third straight game.

"I think I'm being overly aggressive," Kidd-Gilchrist said. "I just have to calm down. That's the way it goes. [Calipari] said he needs me out there on the court. I think that's why he puts me back in the game in those situations. It's not easy."

Jones finished with nine points and six rebounds in 27 minutes. He dislocated the finger on Dec. 17 against Tennessee-Chattanooga and missed two games. He said after the game his finger still isn't 100 percent, but he was well enough to play at game speed.

Calipari said getting Jones tuned up in short order is important, but it's far from the only problem on his mind heading into Saturday.

"You can't hide here," Calipari said. "This is Kentucky. There isn't a rock big enough, no cracks big enough. You're out there, and either you're going to perform or you're not, and there is no excuse why you're not. Like I said, we've got a ways to go."

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist fights through Lamar's defense to lead Kentucky with 18 points. (US Presswire)
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist fights through Lamar's defense to lead Kentucky with 18 points. (US Presswire)
Lamar (8-5)283664
Kentucky #3 (12-1) «444286
LAMAR:M. James 29 Pts
LAMAR:O. Ebomwonyi 8 Reb
LAMAR:D. Minor 3 Ast
KY:M. Kidd-Gilchrist 18 Pts
KY:A. Davis 13 Reb
KY:M. Kidd-Gilchrist 4 Ast

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Mike James
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Lamar Cardinals
M. James, G3913-292-231329
C. Harper, F260-40-03120
D. Lamb, G231-30-36122
A. Miles, G222-106-622111
S. Brown, F151-32-20014
O. Ebomwonyi, C212-30-08044
D. Minor, G201-20-01322
T. Lynch, G174-70-02028
N. Acosta, F71-10-01122
B. Davis, G50-10-03010
V. Nelson, F50-22-21012
R. Mitchell, FDid Not Play
S. Norman, FDid Not Play
Totals 25-6512-153092064
Kentucky Wildcats
A. Davis, F345-100-0132210
D. Miller, G324-73-461315
D. Lamb, G323-95-612112
M. Teague, G314-86-724215
M. Kidd-Gilchrist, F265-68-1064218
T. Jones, F274-101-26229
K. Wiltjer, F111-24-41007
E. Vargas, F40-10-00010
T. Beckham, G10-00-00000
J. Polson, G10-00-00000
B. Long, G10-00-00000
J. Hood, GDid Not Play
S. Malone, GDid Not Play
Totals 26-5327-3335151386
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
SF Austin0-09-1110
Abil Chr.0-07-3252
SE Louisiana0-06-4171
Incarn Word0-04-3230
C. Arkansas0-06-5232
Sam Houston0-05-5217
Nicholls St.0-04-5159
Nwestern St.0-03-5281
McNeese St.0-03-6306
Hou. Baptist0-03-7315
New Orleans0-02-6253
Texas A&M-CC0-02-6341

TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Texas A&M0-09-16
Miss. State0-08-152
S. Carolina0-08-241
Ole Miss0-05-4133
Other games
Nwstern 54 Final
Ohio St 87
SETON 49 Final
Syracuse 75
GTOWN 71 Final
Louisville 68
Indiana 65 Final
Mich St 80
MOST 77 Final
UConn 60 Final
S Florida 57
Miss St 52 Final
Baylor 54
CAR 75 Final
UNLV 124